Our mission is to build brighter futures for Chicago's youth and adults through supportive relationships and life-changing programs.

We do this by providing creative youth development and social services that help people build the skills they need to transcend the challenges of poverty and lead fulfilling lives.
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Our History

Chicago Lights is the nonprofit at Fourth Presbyterian Church. Our programs grew from the church’s commitment to social justice and compassionate service, beginning with the founding of the Tutoring program in 1964.

The Presbyterian denomination 
maintains a legacy of establishing colleges and universities and standing with people often disinherited by society. So, in 1964, 
a small group of Fourth Presbyterian Church members headed to Cabrini-Green to offer tutoring to children in the newly 
established “projects.”

The commitment to education and literacy expanded and in 1991 gave rise to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which in 2004 was renamed Chicago Lights.

Fourth Presbyterian Church continues to be a vital source of funding and support for Chicago Lights, including providing forty percent of our volunteers and covering a majority of our overhead costs. Because of this partnership, our team of professional staff and over 1,000 dedicated volunteers can continue to build brighter futures for youth and adults who need it most.

Since the inception of Tutoring in 1964, Chicago Lights has served more than 50,000 people. Today, we annually serve more than 4,000 individuals living in under-resourced neighborhoods through mentoring, supportive services, academic enrichment, career development, and arts education.

Our Impact
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Students are paired one-to-one with caring volunteer mentors, who meet weekly for 1.5 hours to foster students’ academic and personal growth.


Of our high school students enrolled in our Career Development program successfully completed their summer internships and engaged in important on-the-job learning and resume-building skills.


Of our seniors graduated from high school, (The average graduation rate at Chicago Public Schools hovers at 76%.)

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Summer Day


Students stay engaged each summer through six weeks of academic, arts, and enrichment programming.


Of our students improved or maintained their language arts skills.


Of our students improved or maintained their math skills.

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Urban Farm


People engage annually with our Urban Farm through educational and economic opportunities, hands-on learning experiences, and access to fresh, local, and sustainably grown produce.


Unique high school students and three young adults with barriers to employment participate in our workforce development program, where they not only learn about urban farming but also resume writing, interviewing techniques, customer service skills, and more.


Pounds of produce were grown and distributed through Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA), the Farmstand, and the church market.

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Dance Academy


More than 1,500 students receive dance instruction at our 5 partner schools to support their academic and personal growth.


Students were enrolled in the four-week Summer Dance Intensive, which enhances technique and increases self-esteem and strength.

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Social Services


More than 1,800 adults receive supportive services each year.


People living on the streets received supplies and resources through our Street Outreach program.


Unique individuals were assigned to a permanent case manager.

Stacy Jackson headshot
Stacy Jackson
Executive Director
Alex Cornwell headshot
Alex Cornwell
Executive Programs Director
Laura Woods headshot
Laura Woods
Associate Director of Development
Kris Adamik headshot
Kris Adamik
Communications Manager
Joi Brooks headshot
Joi Brooks
Foundation Relations Officer
Devon Stewart headshot
Devon Stewart
Development Coordinator
Patty Mendez headshot
Patty Mendez
Director, Dance Academy
Annie Snow headshot
Annie Snow
Program Manager, Dance Academy
Jackie Lorens Harris headshot
Jackie Lorens Harris
Director, Social Service Center
Theresa Thornburg headshot
Theresa Thornburg
Associate Director of Clinical Services, Social Service Center
Ebony Harris headshot
Ebony Harris
Outreach and Education Manager, Social Service Center
Jill Keiser headshot
Jill Keiser
Community Partner Manager, Social Service Center
Patty Sokolow headshot
Patty Sokolow
Program Services and Volunteer Manager, Social Service Center
Fernie Tiflis headshot
Fernie Tiflis
Director, Tutoring and Summer Day
Mark Dennison headshot
Mark Dennison
Program Coordinator, Tutoring and Summer Day
Shatoya Harper headshot
Shatoya Harper
Youth Programs Manager, Tutoring and Summer Day
Armedia Houston headshot
Armedia Houston
Education and Enrichment Manager, Tutoring and Summer Day
Jonita Johnson headshot
Jonita Johnson
Youth Programs Coordinator, Tutoring and Summer Day
Meg Sutter headshot
Meg Sutter
Program Manager, Tutoring and Summer Day
Ben Jaffe headshot
Ben Jaffe
Deja Stout headshot
Deja Stout
Program Manager, Urban Farm
Malcolm Patterson headshot
Malcolm Patterson
Head Grower and Workforce Programs Educator, Urban Farm
Our Board of Directors
Chad A. Tischer
DiMeo Schneider & Associates, L.L.C.
Elinor Hite
Vice President
HR Consultant/Executive Coach
Andrea Person
Vice President
Publicis Re:Sources
Amy M. Gulinson
Assistant General Counsel, Aon
Nicholas VanDerSchie
Morningstar Investment Management, LLC
Cindy Hull
Assistant Treasurer
Federal Reserve Bank of New York
Ken Walker
Past President
Bank of Montreal
Kathryn Bates
Bates Development Services
Victoria G. Curtiss
Fourth Presbyterian Church
Joseph Feldman
Joseph Feldman Associates
Amanda Felt
University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Lafayette Kyle Ford
Merrill Lynch
Ellen Gignilliat
Community Volunteer
James Gould
Horizon Hotel Group
Cynthia Joho
Community Volunteer
Naresh Koka
Bill Patterson
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP
Virginia J. Pillman
Virginia M. Johnson & Associates, Inc
Joseph E. Tyler III
Bank of America, N.A.
Kimberly Watson
Chicago Public Schools
Brian Van Klompenberg
Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Stacy Jackson (ex officio)
Executive Director (312.981.3562)
Chicago Lights